3 Ways to Sell Books from Your Author Website

Often we are asked by authors, “What will a website do for me? I already have a Facebook page….”

Having a Facebook page is really quite essential these days, even if it seems the daily slog to get people to “like” your page can be too much. Basically, you need to grab every opportunity to gain exposure for your book. A website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram account, a page on Goodreads…everything adds to your author profile and helps build your community of readers.

But you can sell books on your website as well. Here are three ways:

Link to Online Retailers

On your Home page and Buy the Book page, include links to online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. IndieBound is a website that allows people to order your book online and purchase it from a local independent bookstore of their choosing.

When you sell your book through an online retailer, your “publisher compensation” is your book retail price less a wholesaler discount, which ranges from 40% to 55% (i.e., a chunk of your profit). The printing costs are then deducted from that amount as well. On the upside, all shipping is taken care of and the buyer pays the shipping at checkout. Note that you can download retailer logos and Buy buttons to spiffy up your links and make them pop. Read our blog post on how publisher compensation is calculated, what wholesale discounts are, and why you should manage your print-on-demand yourself to maximize profits.

Set Up a Shopping Cart

Set up a shopping cart on your site using a service such as PayPal, Stripe, or a merchant account at your bank. In the age of print-on-demand (POD), you can now order and ship the books directly from the dashboard on your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark account. There is some clerical work involved, but on a positive note, you keep all the revenue minus the printing and shipping as no wholesale discount is deducted (unless you charge shipping to the buyer). If you charge the buyer for shipping, you’ll need to add a shipping option to your shopping cart. Alternatively, you could offer “free” shipping to encourage buyers to purchase from you rather than Amazon. Buyers will almost always check the price on Amazon, so keep an eye on the discounted price Amazon is charging for the book and match it.

If your author website was created using WordPress, consider installing WooCommerce, which can be used for selling and shipping physical books, but which can also be used to sell eBooks from your website.

Make sure you tell people that they can order your book in bulk (if appropriate). Ask them to contact you directly to discuss pricing. You can make this bulk order through the dashboard on your POD account and ship it directly to the customer.

Set Up an Aer.io Store

Use IngramSpark’s Aer.io “store” to accept orders and payments. IngramSpark fulfills the order and ships to the buyer. You pay a small monthly fee and a 15% wholesale discount to Aer.io. Your profit is higher and there is no clerical work involved. Basically, you set up the store and book sales from your website are on auto-pilot.

And Don’t Forget Facebook…

You can also set up a Shop on your Facebook page. You can opt to let buyers check out on Facebook or to send buyers to a page on your website. Click here to learn how to set up a Facebook Shop.

Authors often ask if they can send buyers to IngramSpark or KDP to buy books. The answer is “No.” These are your POD accounts. Buyers can purchase from Amazon and other retailers, directly from you, or from your Aer.io store but not from IngramSpark or KDP. As noted above, however, they can buy through your website and you can order printed books to be delivered to you from IngramSpark or KDP. This is a great option for bulk purchases.

Do you have questions about author websites, self-publishing or book sales? Send us a message.

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